ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe has been cleared of sexual harassment charges by the party's grievance panel, City Press reported. He was accused by his former personal assistant of three instances of sexual harassment, but the panel was reportedly not impressed with her evidence.
News24 reported last year that Mabe had requested to be placed on leave pending the outcome of the internal investigation into the woman's allegations. The woman apparently said Mabe treated her badly after she complained about his alleged advances, and that her salary was cut because of it. Mabe, in turn, said the complaint against him was motivated by the salary cut.
The woman has also laid charges against Mabe with the police. Eyewitness News (EWN) reported last year that the Hawks had taken notice of the case, although it had not been given to them at that stage.
The Sunday Times reported that Mabe said the woman's "poor performance" had led him to start making inquiries about her qualifications. He reportedly discovered that she had allegedly lied about this on her CV and her salary was therefore cut.
The woman reportedly claimed that on one of the occasions when she was allegedly sexually harassed, Mabe entered her bed while she was asleep and got under the blankets, putting his legs on top of hers. Mabe denied this.
According to City Press, the panel, chaired by ANC national executive committee (NEC) members Thoko Didiza and Sdumo Dlamini, found that Mabe's version had been corroborated by witnesses. The matter is reportedly expected to be challenged at the NEC's meeting on Sunday, as the woman's supporters feel the panel's handling of the matter was unfair.
The panel has apparently recommended that the woman should be moved to a different department at Luthuli House, and that the ANC should adopt a sexual harassment policy. The panel also wants both parties to go for counselling, and has warned against the use of staff or managers' rooms as meeting venues, as allegedly occurred with Mabe and the woman.